L. Andrew Cooper specializes in the provocative, scary, and strange. His latest novel, Crazy Time, combines literary horror and dark fantasy in a contemporary quest to undo what may be a divine curse. Other published works include novels Burning the Middle Ground and Descending Lines; short story collections Leaping at Thorns and Peritoneum; poetry collection The Great Sonnet Plot of Anton Tick; non-fiction Gothic Realities and Dario Argento; co-edited fiction anthologies Imagination Reimagined and Reel Dark; and the co-edited textbook Monsters. He has also written more than 30 award-winning screenplays. After studying literature and film at Harvard and Princeton, he used his Ph.D. to teach about favorite topics from coast to coast in the United States. He now focuses solely on writing and lives in North Hollywood, California. Find him at www.landrewcooper.com.
“Cooper's dark horror story is an uncomfortable, trippy, and original roller-coaster ride... riveting and unsettling... with a compelling hero.”
– Kirkus Reviews
A novel presents a woman’s strange and surreal journey.
Cooper’s story starts with a tragedy. While driving one night, Lily Henshaw and her three best friends are accosted by two men in a truck. “It’s crazy time!” one of them says. Lily’s pals end up dead, but she somehow survives. Months later, she deals with physical and psychological scars—her trauma is palpable, and her survivor’s guilt is debilitating. But Lily carries on until people around her die (her brother, David, who chooses suicide), get diagnosed as terminally ill (her mom), or are attacked (her boss, Burt, whose business is destroyed in a break-in). Lily’s house is invaded by locusts, which she may or may not be hallucinating. They appear just before she is sexually assaulted. Then her next-door neighbor commits a violent crime. The locusts could be a portent, but of what, Lily wonders: Is she cursed? Is this the apocalypse? To get answers, Lily, with Burt by her side, consults a psychic and Satan worshipers until she finally meets with the higher-ups of a corporation that does work for God himself. Cooper’s dark horror story is an uncomfortable, trippy, and original roller-coaster ride with a side of romance. Readers will find the tale vastly disorienting at first. But once Lily’s investigation starts, they will decide to shadow her, wanting to find answers alongside the protagonist. Remarkably for a novel that poses big questions about God, the devil, and the meaning of life, the story manages to bypass the dangers of religious pontification. Instead, the tale concentrates on Lily’s bravery as she makes her way through the madness around her. Unfortunately, there is an important part of the work that looks at death by suicide and suicide clusters with less consideration than the topic deserves. Still, despite the big chunks of expository monologues in some places, the narrative flows smoothly to its gripping finale.
A riveting and unsettling horror story with a compelling hero.
Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2022
Page count: 346pp
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Review Posted Online: March 7, 2022
A Grand Guignol cat-and-mouse tale about a monstrous husband pursuing his fleeing wife.
Megan and Carter face a terrible problem: Their 6-year-old child, Caitlin, is dying of cancer and doesn’t have much time left. But Carter has a plan to use the black magic that he and a dimwitted dormitory buddy learned back in college in order to cast a spell on the sick little girl. Carter is sure that the ritual will save Caitlin’s life; never mind that the last time he dabbled in the dark arts, his classmate died, or that the grisly ritual requires Carter and Megan to sacrifice their future baby. The ensuing narrative confidently seesaws back and forth between the couple’s disintegrating relationship and Carter’s halcyon days studying a creepy tome called The Alchemy of the Will by a forgotten academic named Dr. Allen Fincher. Cooper, a horror aficionado and film-studies teacher, largely eschews the highly charged politics inherent in his self-described “nasty little story”—despite the obvious parallels to the debates regarding abortion, stem cell research and cloning—in favor of tracking Megan’s escalating anguish and Carter’s growing fiendishness: “Carter’s fingers passed before his eyes, showing him the bits of skin that clung to their sharp tips—remnants of the man’s face.” As readers will likely expect, Megan eventually screws up enough courage to hit the road, a curiously whiny Caitlin in tow. From there, however, the heretofore steady narrative becomes a thoroughly protracted affair in which the tension grows tedious, even as the body count soars. Ultimately, the most unsettling thing about the gory goings-on may be that they could serve as a tasty prologue to a more interesting tale—about a little lost girl who grows up with a bloodthirsty monster.
An undeniably horrific thriller.
Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2013
Page count: 222pp
Review Posted Online: June 16, 2014
: professor and author (job exceeds day)
: Ketchum, King, Lovecraft, Woolf, Faulkner, H. James, Baudelaire, Le Fanu, Dickens, Poe, Brontes (CAE), Austen, C. B. Brown, M. Lewis, Walpole...
: Absalom, Absalom! or The Waves
: Duluth, Georgia
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